More than two hundred and fifty youths from across Guyana, invited to participate in the inaugural National Youth Conference have been registered.
The three-day conference, being hosted by the Ministry of Social Cohesion’s Department of Youth, will begin on September 25 with an orientation, city tour and a State reception.
Director of Youth, Melissa Carmichael-Haynes met with the youths today, as they were settling in. The Youth Director said the city tour was included on the calendar of activities to provide those youths from outside of the Georgetown, the opportunity to visit historical sites and landmarks in the city.
“We at the Department of Youth want to ensure that the activities that are planned benefit the young people in a holistic way. The tours and the reception all serve to give them exposure to various things and provide them an opportunity to network … We are providing them with the opportunity to see historic sites and to understand what the young people in Region Four are exposed to,” the director explained.
Following the reception which will be held at the State House this evening, the official sessions for the youth conference will run from September 26-27 at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre; and will see several engagements between state officials and the participants.
Youths participating in this inaugural conference are representing various groups, advocating for youth empowerment, involvement, development, and education and are eager to make the necessary representation at the level of the state for their respective organizations and youth groups they represent.
Collin Moore, who serves as the Chairman of the Number 28/Bush Lot/Adventure Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) and also as a representative of the Youth Champions’ Network in Region Six, said the hosting of such an event is relevant as there is increased advocacy for the involvement of youth in politics and governance.
“Signing up for this conference I saw an aspect that speaks to local government elections so my expectations are that we can debate about the different parts of local government elections getting people from all ten administrative regions and at least we can learn from each other,” Moore posited.
Also, from Region Six, Elroy Marks of Youths United for Empowerment said, “being here is not just about learning but interacting, sharing points of view, opinions, and constructive criticisms. Being here is about molding the future, being here is about empowering ourselves to be better than yesterday.”
To a greater extent, those representing youths in the hinterland are hopeful to be empowered to return to their communities and pioneer youth organizations that will encourage development and youth advocacy on all fronts.
Further, it was noted by youth representatives from hinterland communities that there must be equal opportunity and involvement for all regardless of where they live in Guyana. This is one of the aspects which the conference aims to address.
Melissa Peters for Mabaruma, Region One indicated that she hopes to garner as much knowledge as she can as she makes representation for Indigenous youth in and around her community.
“I hope to learn about youth development, how we can get involved, how we can keep a youth group active because this is a very crucial aspect. We the people of Region One need to get involved.”
Kwakwani’s Malika Russell said, “I intend to share about issues (existing in her community) and learn from the other communities that would already have established groups and learn about the ways in which they (would have) tackled problems like unemployment, school drop-outs and at the end of it I am hoping that I will be able to establish a youth group and we will be able to empower each other.”
The three-day youth conference is being hosted under the theme “Youth Perspective for Empowerment and Development for a Better Guyana.”